Saturday, May 25

Unhappy With High Medical Expenses, Arizona Senior Advocacy Group Speaks Out Against Congress

In Arizona, a senior advocacy group is speaking out against proposals in Congress that would have a huge impact on health care expenses for seniors.

Today, the average total cost for medical expenses for a 65-year-old couple is about $218,000 over a 20-year period.

According to the AARP, Arizona seniors should expect that number to rise if the Republican replacement to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is passed into law. The new “repeal and replace” proposal has been called both Ryancare and Trumpcare, and it has drawn intense opposition from all across the political spectrum.

AARP Arizona recently launched a campaign to oppose Speaker Paul Ryan’s health care plans, which would provide seniors with a fixed monthly subsidy to purchase health coverage. The AARP prefers the existing level of benefits guaranteed under Obamacare.

“The voucher system would force people with fewer financial resources to enroll in less expensive plans with more limited benefits and restrictive provider networks,” said Dana Kennedy, AARP Arizona state director.

Kennedy expects the unpopular voucher program to reduce access and charge much higher out-of-pocket costs for people who are unable to afford a more comprehensive plan.

According to Public News Service, the average American senior citizen earns less than $25,000 a year and spends about $1 out of every $6 on health care.

“President Trump said that he would make sure that seniors continue to receive the benefits that they already have. So he was crystal clear about his position on Medicare during the election,” added Kennedy. “He said that it’s a deal made with the American people and he intends to honor that deal. So we want to make sure that Congress honors that deal as well.”

Because Republicans have promised to both repeal Obamacare and implement a “terrific” replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Congress is now focusing a lot of time and energy on figuring out how to preserve coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare required insurance companies to cover all Americans regardless of their medical history, and that feature has proven to be extremely popular with voters of both parties.

In the past, insurers could deny individual coverage to people with pre-existing conditions such as cerebral palsy, congestive heart failure, and even cancer. Roughly one-fifth of American adults will develop some form of skin cancer over the course of their lifetime, with basal cell carcinoma being the most common. As people grow older, their chances of developing cancer and other health problems grows. Unfortunately, most seniors income shrinks while their spending on health care increases.

That’s why the AARP is just one of many organizations that has come out against Speaker Ryan’s new health care proposal. Without the funding and regulations enshrined into law by the Affordable Care Act, up to 15 million Americans could lose their health insurance in the years to come.

“I’m really angry about it,” said Vicki Tosher, a 64-year-old breast cancer patient from Colorado. “It’s unfair. It’s kind of like living in a ghetto. [It’s] a major concern for me.”

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